Rebel Galaxy Outlaw sits somewhere between American Truck Simulator’s trucking Americana and Freespace 2’s iconic combat. It’s a highly competent single-player space combat simulator, complete with warring factions, pirates, corrupt police officers, and questionable sectors full of all sorts of unwanted stuff, a nicely detailed trading system, and great fighting. While intense levels of difficulty and the lack of mission information leave scars on the hull, Rebel Galaxy Outlaw delivers a worthy charge. This is our Rebel Galaxy Outlaw Review.
Rebel Galaxy Outlaw Review: About
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
- Developer: Double Damage Games
- Publisher: Double Damage Games
- Genres: Space flight simulation game
- Release Date: August 13, 2019
Rebel Galaxy Outlaw Review: Gameplay
You play as Juno Markev, a pilot searching for her husband’s killer, her need to make money to cover the debt of replacing her recently discarded ship, and her dark past. Primarily told through communication messages and cutscenes between missions, many of the characters you meet are fairly archetypal, but share a sense of familiarity and orientation that gives them much of their charm.
Animation of characters in cutscenes of a story can feel quite stiff, giving them an eerie valley vibe; however, these moments are short and don’t distract from the broader stories. Juno itself is a significant highlight; her endearingly grounded sense of self-confidence and her inability to endure the fools she continually deals with always spark a fiery dialogue.
Story threads are easy to lose track of because of the sheer number of things you can do. If it’s just you and your ship, it’s all about surviving the hustle and bustle of a space truck driver, trading and smuggling goods, hiring mercenaries, mining resources, and selling resources. All you can do to keep those credits in so you can upgrade or outright replace the colossal junker of a ship you got at the beginning of the game. In opening hours, your journey is limited to one system and few local missions. However, once you get your hands on a jump drive, you can make your way through the galaxy, and things start opening up a bit more.
There are five ships that you can buy at different stations, each with features that make them suitable as a freighter or a hunter. Although some boats are better suited to specific tasks than others, you are not limited to a playing style because of your choice. Fighters can add cargo spaces to move more items, and you can take a freighter fully equipped with advanced weapons that hunt pirates, and it will still feel pretty good.
The detailed cockpit is the default view, and it’s daunting at first – although you can also play in a third person. This seems weird because you’re playing an experienced pilot; the numerous switches, lights, and dials each flicker away, and you don’t know what they’re doing at first. There is no tutorial to help with this, so it may feel like you’re being thrown into the deep end. However, while it takes some time to understand what the ship’s systems are telling you, it doesn’t take long to read the controls fluently and get a better understanding of a particular situation. There is support for a flight stick and a HOTAS, but I liked it best with a gamepad because everything you need is at your fingertips.
Stations are where everything happens outside of combat, although you don’t jump out of your ship and wander around. Instead, browse through a handful of menus to get what you need before you travel. Here you can do ship repairs or upgrades, trade commodities, join one of the guilds offering side missions, or browse that station’s standard side missions. It’s an elegant way to handle station crossings, and the beautiful visual images and animations of the station internals give you an idea of what kind of station you are and what things you might find there.
You can bother the local bartender for useful gameplay tips, industry news, or other information or play one of the few corny but fun mini-games like slots, 8-ball, or Star-Venger, a simple take on an asteroid-based sprite shooter. Missions are picked up from stations or, in the case of story missions, provided through dialogue. They generally come down to going to a waypoint and finding or killing something for different factions. Some of these are based on your position with various factions, which can change who treats you as hostile when you land between the stars and the stations where you can land.
Missions also reveal a level of risk from mild to extreme, but this is not a considerable measure as I have gone into a medium to low-risk mission zone numerous times to be overwhelmed entirely within 10 seconds of my arrival. In any case, a reload after death is super fast, returning you to the last jump gate you took or the station you left and doing something else for a while before coming back to try again.
The excitement in a good gun battle is terrific. If you’re not tuned in to one of seven different radio stations broadcast across the galaxy, the game’s southern hard rock soundtrack becomes overdrive when the lasers start flying. Gunfights sometimes offer instant rewards, either as premium credits or loose cargo freed from the broken hull, and you can freely engage the tractor beam to suck it up to sell yourself and reap the benefits.
Rebel Galaxy Outlaw’s beautiful visual design is one of its greatest strengths. There is a vast range of stations, ships, planets, and other things to see while you are in the vast space. From the enormous Nevada sector casinos to the glass-covered atria of Hobbes Station, postcard moments can be found almost everywhere in the galaxy. There is also a tremendously in-depth and excellent ship painter that allows you to completely redesign your ship’s paint job, allowing you to customize the look of your vessel down to the smallest details.
That extends to the fight, too, with scorching fire shields flashing in protest and hull plates falling apart while being struck by cannon fire before erupting into a flaming wreck in front of you. Distant firefights look like a laser light show.
Rebel Galaxy Outlaw Review: Conclusion
There’s a lot to do in Rebel Galaxy Outlaw, so much so that you can easily get lost among the myriad activities beyond flying around and taking pictures. Juno is an excellent character despite her sometimes shocking moves, as much of the rest of the charming cast. The fight is fast, hectic, and consistently challenging, although that challenge can sometimes feel impossible without stepping back and making progress elsewhere, quickly becoming frustrating.
Fortunately, the core of the game – combat, trade, and space flight – is all fantastic and made me launch many hours of galactic trading and explosive gunplay in the stars.
While intense levels of difficulty and the lack of mission information leave scars on the hull, Rebel Galaxy Outlaw delivers a worthy charge.